Stitchwort

i.e., GREATER STITCHWORT (Stellaria holostea) A fairy flower, under the protection of the fairies, and it must not be gathered, or the offender will be "fairy-led" into swamps and thickets at night (Skinner). Cornish children say they will be bitten by an adder if they pick it (Macmillan), and that may explain the variety of "snake" names given to the plant (Snake-flower, Snake Grass, Adder's Meat, etc.,), from areas much more widespread than Cornwall, which suggests that the belief was once commoner than it is now.

The plant is called Stitchwort "for its property on helping stitches and pains in the side" (Coles). Gerard also made the point: "they are wont to drinke it in wine with the powder of Acornes, against the paine in the side, stitches, and such like". He also reported, on the authority of Dioscorides, "that the seed of Stitchwort being drunke, causeth a woman to bring forth a man childe".

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